Protecting traditional values only on the basis of religion, Russian church says


Eastern Europe


Russian Metropolitan Hilarion. Photo EPA, Noemi Bruzak

The Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) supports a bill to protect traditional values for the country. However, it believes that this must be based on faith in God. The church wants a firm resistance against Western values as “LGBT propaganda and non-traditional relations.”

In January, the Ministry of Culture of Russia presented a draft presidential decree approving the foundations of state policy to preserve traditional spiritual and moral values, Russian news website Znak reports. The goals of the draft were “countering the spread of destructive ideology”, “ensuring the moral leadership of Russia as the custodian of traditional values”, and “preserving and strengthening the system of values, passing them on from generation to generation.”

The project stated that 11 tasks must be completed to implement it. For example, to strengthen traditional family (to protect the institution of marriage as a union of a man and a woman), to preserve historical memory and protect it from falsification, to support the activities of religious organisations, to protect the Russian language (to prevent the use of obscene language), to protect the population from “external informational and psychological impact.”

United States

The document explained that traditional values are understood as moral guidelines that shape the worldview of Russian citizens. Traditional values include patriotism, citizenship, service to the Fatherland, a strong family, the priority of the spiritual over the material, mercy.

According to the Ministry of Culture, traditional values are threatened by “the activities of extremist and terrorist organisations, the actions of the United States and its allies, transnational corporations, and foreign non-profit organisations.”


The draft was published on the Federal portal of draft regulatory legal acts for public discussion. It collected almost 80,000 dislikes against more than 100,000 likes Znak reports. According to experts, the votes for and against may have been tampered with. As a rule, an initiative collects dozens of likes and dislikes, in sporadic cases hundreds. The Regulations Portal site is designed so that one user can leave an unlimited number of likes and dislikes.

On 14 February, the Ministry of Culture suspended the discussion, Russian news agency Interfax reported last week. The ministry noted that the draft decree was discussed at two venues with experts, deputies, scientists, public figures and received support. “At the same time, many critical remarks were made in society, in the professional environment. In connection with the current discussion around this strategic planning document, today, it is obvious that there is a need to look for new approaches to developing the “Fundamentals of State Policy for the Preservation and Strengthening of Traditional Russian Spiritual and Moral Values”, the ministry added.

Criticism of the document came from the Union of Theatre Workers of the Russian Federation and representatives of the theatre community. They feared that the law would lead to the revival of censorship. Also, representatives of the film industry opposed the document.

LGBT propaganda

The ROC also commented on the law, as can be read on the Moscow Patriarchate. “In particular, the question was asked why –when listing the traditional values of the Russian people– such a fundamental value as faith in God, which is even reflected in our Constitution, was not mentioned”, Metropolitan Hilarion stated. The drafters replied that if such a mention was included, it would “divide society”. “I don’t know what was meant by how faith in God could divide society,” says the Church father.

Metropolitan Hilarion proposes to “define what traditional values are and come to some kind of public consensus on this issue.” “We see what ‘values’ are being implanted in the West now – this is LGBT propaganda, non-traditional sexual relations,” says the church leader. “We are not interested in the fact that propaganda from abroad continues to destroy families in our country. Therefore, to protect our TV and movie viewers is a moral duty of both the state and people of art.”

Religious tradition

On radio Vera, Vladimir Legoyda, head of the Synodal Department for Church Relations with Society and the Media, also said that the draft should be the religious tradition. “Traditional values have nowhere to come from without relying on religious tradition. And this is determined not by a person’s religiosity, but by honesty in relation to the development of culture,” Legoyda said.

At the same time, he noted that the Church is aware of the importance of the discussed project. “I think this project is essential because it proposes introducing concepts into the legal field that continue the line of amendments made to the Constitution of the Russian Federation. This initiative finds our warm support,” the church leader said.



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